When it comes to potting soil, gardeners have two great options from Miracle Gro – the classic Miracle Gro Potting Mix and the Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix. Both provide nutrition for plants and help them thrive, but they have some key differences.
This article will compare the Miracle Gro potting mix and moisture control potting mix to help you decide which is best for your gardening needs.
A Brief Comparison Table
|Feature||Miracle Gro Potting Mix||Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix|
|Ingredients||Peat moss, perlite, fertilizer, wetting agent||Peat moss, perlite, fertilizer, wetting agent, coconut coir, water retaining polymers|
|Best for||Seed starting, transplants, houseplants, cacti/succulents||Containers, hanging baskets, plants prone to drying out|
|Frequency of watering||More often||Less often|
|Consistency||Lightweight and porous||Lightweight and porous|
|Nutrition||6 months continuous release fertilizer||6 months continuous release fertilizer|
|pH level||Balanced neutral||Balanced neutral|
Overview of Miracle Gro Potting Soil
Miracle Gro Potting Mix is a go-to potting soil for many gardeners. It contains a blend of sphagnum peat moss, perlite, fertilizer, and a wetting agent. The mix provides a lightweight and porous growing medium that helps prevent soil compaction while still retaining just the right amount of moisture and nutrients.
Some of the key benefits of Miracle Gro potting mix include:
- Nutrition – Contains Miracle Gro continuous release plant food to feed plants for up to 6 months.
- Lightweight & porous – The peat moss and perlite create lots of air space for healthy root development.
- pH balanced – Comes pre-balanced to an optimal pH for most plants.
- Wetting agent – Helps soak up water thoroughly and reduces water repellency.
- Ready to use – Comes prepared and ready to use right out of the bag.
The Miracle Gro potting mix works well for container gardening and re-potting indoor and outdoor plants.
It provides a clean, sterile starting medium with steady fertilization. The mix is designed to be well-aerated and quick draining.
Some downsides are that it may dry out faster than denser soil mixes. The light mix can also be prone to gnats if kept overly moist. It may need additional compost or coconut coir added for moisture retention.
Overview of Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix
Miracle Gro also offers a Moisture Control version of their potting mix. This mix has the same base ingredients as the original formula, but with extra additives to help the soil better retain moisture.
The Moisture Control mix contains:
- Peat moss, perlite, fertilizer, and wetting agent like the original mix
- Plus extra coconut coir and polymers to increase water retention
Some of the benefits of the moisture control potting mix:
- Excellent water retention – The coir and polymers allow the soil to hold onto more moisture longer.
- Reduced drying out – Stays moist longer than regular potting mix, helping prevent wilting.
- Lasts up to 30% longer – Requires less frequent watering compared to standard soils.
- Feeds up to 6 months – Contains the same continuous release Miracle Gro plant food.
- Lightweight & porous – Still provides the aeration benefits of a peat/perlite mix.
The Miracle Gro moisture control mix is ideal for gardeners who tend to underwater plants and want their soil to stay moist longer. It’s great for container plants prone to drying out like petunias, vegetables, and patio containers. The mix allows gardeners to worry less about frequent watering.
Some downsides are that it may stay overly wet if overwatered. The moisture retention can lead to gnats if the soil isn’t allowed to dry out occasionally. The mix also comes at a higher cost than traditional potting soil.
Comparing Key Features of Miracle Gro Potting And Moisture Control Potting Mix
Now that we’ve covered the basics of each potting mix, let’s compare some of the key features and differences:
- Water Retention
The main difference between the two Miracle Gro potting mixes is the ability to retain moisture. The Moisture Control mix can hold onto water longer thanks to the added coir and water-absorbing polymers. These amendments give it higher water retention than the regular potting mix.
Both mixes contain 6 months of Miracle Gro plant food fertilizer. They provide the same continuous feeding at a consistent rate. No difference in the fertilization.
The standard Miracle Gro mix contains peat moss, perlite, fertilizer, and a wetting agent. The Moisture Control has those same ingredients plus extra coconut coir and moisture retaining polymers.
Due to the extra amendments, the Moisture Control mix comes at a higher price per bag than the classic version. Gardeners will have to weigh the value of added water retention vs the increase in cost.
- Lightweight & Porous
Both Miracle Gro mixes are designed to be lightweight, loose, and porous to prevent soil compaction. They offer similar aeration and drainage thanks to perlite in the blend.
- pH Level
The two mixes come balanced to a near neutral pH range optimal for most plants. No noticeable differences in pH levels.
When To Use Miracle Gro Moisture Control Mix?
The Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix offers the best value for:
- Container gardens prone to drying out quickly
- Plants that require consistently moist soil like caladiums
- Hanging baskets and pots in full sun exposed to drying winds and heat
- Gardener’s who frequently underwater and forget to water
- Reducing watering frequency for traveled or busy gardeners
The extra water retention can be extremely helpful for containers and plants that tend to dry out.
It allows an extra buffer if watering is missed or delayed.
Use moisture control for:
- Deck and patio planters
- Vegetable and herb containers
- Flower pots that dry quickly
- Houseplants in fast draining pots
- Mixed containers with a variety of thirsty plants
When To Use Miracle Gro Potting Mix?
Gardeners might prefer the classic Miracle Gro potting soil for:
- Indoor houseplants prone to overwatering
- Seed starting mixes where moisture control is less crucial
- Cactus/succulent mixes requiring fast drainage
- In ground garden beds with natural moisture retention
- Any instance where holding too much moisture could be detrimental
The regular potting mix may work better for plants that are sensitive to overwatering. It’s also suitable for short term transplants.
Use regular potting mix for:
- Houseplants with sensitive roots
- Seed starting mixtures
- Soil for cactus and succulents
- As a fast draining amendment to in ground soil
- Temporary transplanting into small containers
- Mixing into raised garden beds for aeration
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are answers to some common questions about Miracle Gro potting mixes:
Moisture control potting mix is better for container gardens, hanging baskets, and potted plants prone to quick drying. It can extend the time between waterings. But too much moisture control can be detrimental for plants that require fast drainage.
The main difference is that moisture control mixes contain added amendments like coir, sponges, or water gels to increase water retention. The amendments absorb and trap extra moisture.
For plants that frequently dry out or Gardens with limited watering, Miracle Gro Moisture Control can be worth the extra investment. The convenience of less frequent watering may justify the cost. But it may not be worth it for plants suited to quick drainage.
Moisture control potting mixes contain additives like coir, polymers, or water gels that increase the soil’s water holding capacity. This allows the mix to retain moisture longer than standard potting soil.
Both Miracle Gro potting mixes are quality products. The Moisture Control version offers excellent water retention. But the classic mix provides sufficient drainage for many situations.
Here are some quick recommendations:
- For container plants prone to quick drying – go with Miracle Gro Moisture Control
- For houseplants and seedlings – stick with classic Miracle Gro Potting Mix
- For cactus/succulents – use Miracle Gro Cactus Mix
- For moisture loving caladiums/impatiens – Moisture Control
- For temporary transplants – the regular potting mix will suffice
It’s best to evaluate your specific needs. Both mixes can be amended with extra perlite or coir to fine tune moisture control. Test them to see which Miracle Gro potting soil provides the right balance of drainage and water retention for your gardening projects.